The Toyota Free State XV had their flags lowered and DHL Western Province had to score three unanswered tries to draw their matches in Week 8 of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge, as a number of teams pushed for improved log positions as this exciting competition moved closer to the playoffs.
The Free Staters suffered their first defeat of the competition, losing 27-19 to neighbouring Tafel Lager Griquas in Bloemfontein, and with the Cell C Sharks XV victorious 52-24 over the Leopards in Piet Retief, the Central Section is becoming more and more competitive as the tournament progresses.
The leaders are only three points ahead of the men from Kimberley, and six ahead of the KwaZulu-Natalians, both of whom have a game in hand.
Undefeated DHL Western Province almost came unstuck in Worcester, where the Boland Cavaliers raced to a 24-7 lead at the break at Esselen Park. Three tries, including a brace by former Junior Springboks Player of the Year, Juarno Augustus, helped the Capetonians to a hard-fought draw.
The defending champions are still clear in the South Section, but Boland and the SWD Eagles are neck and neck for the second spot on the log and automatic quarter-final qualification.
The Eagles had to travel to East London and survived a strong start by the Border Bulldogs. They prevailed with a strong finish for a 23-17 win.
The North Section leader, iCOLLEGE Pumas, had a bye this weekend, but still hold the aces. The Vodacom Blue Bulls had a narrow escape in Pretoria, beating the Hino Valke to stay second on the log. The home side edged their Gauteng foes 37-32 at Loftus Versfeld.
The Xerox Golden Lions XV were ruthless in their execution of the Windhoek Lager Welwitschias, winning by 89-10 in Johannesburg. They scored 42 points in the first half and continued on their merry way in the second.
Week 8 results and points’ scorers are:
Cell C Sharks XV 52 (17), Leopards 24 (12)
Cell C Sharks XV – Tries: Khutha Mchunu, Aphelele Fassi (2), Lubabalo Mtembu, Andrew du Plessis, Jeremy Ward, Leolin Zass. Conversions: Danrich Visagie (5), Aphelele Fassi (2). Penalty: Danrich Visagie.
Leopards – Tries: Frans Botha, Dane van der Westhuizen, Chriswell September, Bradley Moolman. Conversions: DP de Lange (2).
Toyota Free State XV 19 (7), Tafel Lager Griquas 27 (14)
Toyota Free State XV – Tries: Daniel Jordaan, Jasper Wiese, Sango Xamlashe. Conversions: Benhard Janse van Rensburg (2).
Tafel Lager Griquas – Tries: Pieter Jansen van Vuuren, Christopher Bosch. Conversion: George Whitehead. Penalties: Whitehead (5).
Boland Cavaliers 24 (24), DHL Western Province 24 (7)
Boland Cavaliers – Tries: Elgar Watts, Sergio Torrens (2), Charles Mayeza. Conversions: Watts (2).
DHL Western Province – Tries: Dan du Plessis, Edwill van der Merwe, Juarno Augustus (2). Conversions: Joshua Stander (2).
Border Bulldogs 17 (10), SWD Eagles 24 (10)
Border Bulldogs – Tries: Somila Jho, Siphosenkosi Nofemele. Conversions: Aphiwe Stemele, Xolela Payi. Penalty: Aphiwe Stemele.
SWD Eagles – Tries: Marlou van Niekerk, Johan Steyn, Adri Jacobs. Conversions: Leighton Eksteen (3). Penalty: Leighton Eksteen.
Xerox Golden Lions XV 89 (42), Windhoek Draught Welwitschias 10 (3)
Xerox Golden Lions XV – Tries: Wayne van der Bank (2), Phumzile Moqondwana (2), Siyabonga Masuku, Selom Gavor, Anthony Volmink, Stephen Bhasera, Eduard Fouche, Darrien-Lane Landsberg, Austin Davids, Morne van den Berg, Penalty try. Conversions: Alwyn Cilliers (6), Masuku (5).
Windhoek Draught Welwitschias – Try: JC Winkler. Conversion: DJ van Weidts. Penalty: Aurello Plato.
Vodacom Blue Bulls 37 (20), Hino Valke 32 (10)
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Johan Grobbelaar, Earll Douwrie, Jano Venter, Lian du Toit, Nqoba Mxoli. Conversions: Douwrie (3). Penalties: Douwrie (2).
Hino Valke – Tries: Gert Alberts, Marco Klopper, Robey Leibrandt, Siphiwe Sithole. Conversions: Andre du Plessis (3). Penalties: Du Plessis (2).
Standings after week eight (matches played and log points)
- iCOLLEGE Pumas 6, 29
- Vodacom Blue Bulls 7, 26
- Xerox Golden Lions XV 6, 18
- Hino Valke 6, 9
- Windhoek Draught Welwitschias 7, 7
- Toyota Free State XV 7, 29
- Tafel Lager Griquas 6, 26
- Cell C Sharks XV 6, 22
- Down Touch Griffons 6, 11
- Leopards 7, 3
- DHL Western Province 7, 32
- Boland Cavaliers 6, 19
- SWD 6, 19
- Border 7, 11
- EP Elephants 6, 5